How Libraries Can Recover from Floods and Other Disasters

August 28, 2019

Libraries are just as susceptible to disasters and catastrophes like any other building. Libraries can reduce the long-term effects through plenty of planning for the possibility of a catastrophe and reaching out to community assistance programs that can help the path to recovery.

Preparing Beforehand

Library staff should always be made aware of how they can help out and be prepared for any disaster. Always make sure that fire extinguishers are open and not placed near seating areas, and that all security cameras are facing those areas of the library. A library should also ensure that supplies, like face masks, gloves, and wet-wipes, are all in abundance and close by.

When it comes to preventing damage to library materials, a large room air purifier can be activated after the incident is a great investment to look into. Each situation and incident is different from the next, but all libraries should tailor their preparations and responses to incidents and seek our resources beyond those normally available.

Tapping Into ALA Resources

There are local and government resources that can help to provide financial help to make up for any loss. The American Library Association (ALA) has stepped in and helped libraries following flooding disasters by distributing funds or helping to raise funds nationally for libraries damaged by hurricanes. ALA can help protect cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies.

Responding to the Incident

Floods, fires, and other natural disasters all have a high level of unpredictability, especially when it comes to their destruction. The amount of damage and the effort that the library will have to put forth to recover can vary. Damage can even be extensive if a small fire breaks out.

The first step is to prepare by investing in library insurance that’s comprehensive and efficient, helping to keep the building, the people, and the resources housed inside safe. Having library insurance will provide financial protection to reimburse lost funds and help pay for clean up following a disaster.

Next is start the cleanup process following a disaster as soon as it is safe to do so. This will help to keep secondary damage limited from water, mold, and other hazards. Libraries should determine which materials are a total loss, and get those out. If possible, move items that are salvageable to a secure location that’s nearby like a branch library.

If the library has a large number of staff members on hand who are volunteers, they can come in handy as valuable resources to help out in this time. This can be true of a nonprofit library that is based on the work of volunteers. From pushing out standing water to getting rid of wasted resources, an all-hands-on-deck approach will help.

The recovery of the building itself is important, but so is restoring library services for the community. Access can be a challenging component, so starting up a virtual library that’s open 24/7 can take over many services normally provided by a brick-and-mortar location.

About Regan Agency

A family-owned business, Long Island-based Regan Agency has more than 35 years of experience serving the library insurance and risk management needs of Tri-State residents and businesses. We have earned the trust of our clients based on our integrity and commitment to offer individuals and businesses quality library insurance products at competitive prices backed by unparalleled responsive service. Just give one of our professionals a call at 631-669-3434.